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Lighting Research Center Initiates Industry Collaboration to Study and Explore 3D Printing Solutions for Lighting

01 Apr 2019

 How will 3D printing affect my business? This question is being asked by companies in several industries, especially those involved in the manufacturing process. A diverse group of companies came together last month to discuss and better understand the impact of 3D printing in the lighting and allied industries. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is already being used in several industries to augment conventional manufacturing.

The discovery workshop, organized by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer in partnership with Carbon Group Global, was designed to understand the impact of 3D printing across all areas of buildings and construction, and especially its impact on lighting. Participants included leaders from Acuity Brands Lighting, Current by GE, Desktop Metal, DSM, Eaton Corp., Finelite, Focal Point, Henkel, HP, Hubbell Lighting, Lumileds, Stratasys, Tempo Lighting, Ultimaker and Carbon Group Global. The group focused on how to best assimilate 3D printing with the lighting industry, the mutual benefits to all stakeholders, and the implications to and the impact on the existing ecosystem.

"We are thrilled to host such a pioneering effort with industry leaders who have a shared vision of adopting 3D printing in the lighting and construction industries," said LRC Director of Research Nadarajah Narendran, Ph.D., who was the chief architect of the workshop. Leading the workshop, industry veteran Govi Rao emphasized, "We are steadily embarking on the fourth Industrial Revolution, which is enabling capabilities like additive manufacturing to be adopted rapidly, thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning and enhanced connectivity." Commenting on the workshop, Hugo da Silva, VP of Additive Manufacturing at DSM, a pioneer in 3D printing materials for more than 25 years, said, "We are excited that the lighting industry is taking a proactive approach to integrate 3D printing into their operations. I am extremely optimistic about the possibilities enabled by 3D printing, specifically for the various stakeholders in the lighting value chain."

The group will soon embark on developing an industry roadmap to make additive manufacturing a viable option for the lighting, building, and construction industries.

The potential benefits of 3D printing include the ability for manufacturers to create custom products that are uniquely designed for spaces to be illuminated. Fixtures could be printed on-site and on-demand, benefitting the user/customer, the manufacturer, and the local construction industry. With 3D printing, the manufacture of individual lighting components, such as heat sinks, electrical traces, and optics, could be customized, enabling the design of parts that cannot be manufactured today by traditional methods, improving both aesthetics and functionality. Research is still needed to advance the integration of 3D printing into the lighting industry, beyond the current prototyping stage. To date, the Lighting Research Center has conducted initial investigations into the potential for printing thermal, electrical, and optical components.

For more information about the LRC's 3D printing industry group, contact Dr. Nadarajah Narendran, narenn2@rpi.edu or +1 (518) 687-7100 or visit the 3D Printing for Lighting Discovery Consortium page on the web.




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